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Hints & Tips

Recycle Week: Ways to Reuse Jam Jars

Like aluminium cans, jam jars can easily be recycled. In most places you can put them in your recycling bin, and if not, the bottle bank will always take them. But jam jars, or any other glass jars for that matter, can take on a new lease of life with just a little imagination. Reusing is even better for the environment than recycling and it’s a great way to get crafty on a rainy Saturday afternoon – we’ve seen more than our fair share of those this summer!

Preparing Jam Jars for Upcycling

The easiest way to clean jam jars is in the dishwasher. The heat not only sterilises them but is also surprisingly good at getting rid of the old labels. If you don’t have a dishwasher, a bowl of hot, soapy water will do the trick.


Ways to Upcycle Jam Jars

  • Jam Jar Candle holders

It doesn’t take much to transform a boring jar in to something beautiful. Wrap some garden string round the rim, secure with strong glue and finish off with a pretty button for a super easy, rustic effect. If you are feeling more adventurous you can work wonders with paper cuts (stuck to the outside of course), vintage fabric, or even crocheted covers to create a warm glow.

  • Jam Jar Vase

You’ve probably seen this look in restaurants and tea rooms, so why not use the same idea at home? Keep it simple and tie a pretty ribbon round the rim, pop in some summer blooms and use them to bring relaxed style to your alfresco dining. Single roses, sweet peas or lavender all look beautiful and will fill the air with sweet scents on a warm summer’s evening.

  • Storage containers

Use masking tape to mark out a rectangular label on your jar. Spray evenly with blackboard paint and allow to dry completely before removing the tape. Write the contents of the jar on the label with a chalk pen. You could use the jars as desk tidies or to keep all your crafty bits and bobs organised. They so good arranged on shelves that you could even use the technique to mark up food containers in your kitchen.

  • Bottling jam

Recycling doesn’t always have to be about coming up with new uses for something. Simply using an item again is better than throwing it out. And that couldn’t be more true than with jam jars. Have a go at making some jam or chutney and bottle it in jars that you’ve saved from the recycling bin. Much cheaper than buying a set from the shops and easily customised with a pretty label to show off your culinary prowess.

If you’re feeling inspired for Recycle Week 2015 don’t forget to share your thrifty upcycling ideas and makes over on Facebook or Twitter!

Becci Johnson

Becci Johnson

Community User

Becci is a Preloved member and lives in a period property in South Manchester. She is always seeking outlets for her creativity, which is often put to best use breathing new life in to old things to furnish her home. She writes about her experiences in the world of craft, upcycling, and life in Manchester, over on her blog